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William Shatner leads a racist reign of terror in Roger Corman’s ‘The Intruder,’ 1962
09.10.2014
04:14 pm

Topics:
Movies
Race

Tags:
William Shatner
Roger Corman


 
You may remember a post we did a while back on the all-Esperanto art house horror, Incubus, starring the immortal William Shatner. Although the film is beautiful in its ambition, fascinating in its inscrutability and kind of hilarious in its absolute weirdness, it is not my favorite Shatner deep cut. No, that great honor belongs to The Intruder,  a weird little anti-racist morality play directed by Roger Corman, the brilliant mind behind the 1960 Little Shop of Horrors, and producer of such classics as Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and Death Race 2000. Oh, and more recently, Sharktopus.

While The Intruder definitely exhibits Corman’s trademark outrageousness, itt does so in an earnest effort to engage the audience’s humanity. Shatner plays a sneaky white supremacist that rolls into a southern town with the covert mission of sowing racial unrest into the recently integrated community. At the time he was a young Canadian theater actor looking to break in to Hollywood, and the role was pretty juicy and subversive—Shatner later said “I’d have paid him to play that role.”
 

 
As far as drama and social analysis of bigotry goes, yeah—it’s pretty heavy-handed and ham-fisted to the modern eye (I mean it’s Roger Corman and William Shatner), but Shatner’s performance is uncharacteristically understated. He’s sleazy and sly and generally threatening as all hell. The picture follows him charming the previously peaceful citizens of Caxton into a a paranoid frenzy, even going so far as to seduce a teenage girl before pressuring her to frame a black man for rape.

The mob violence and virulent hatred is tidied up quite neatly by a level-headed salesman who eventually (basically) just gives Shatner’s character bus fare to leave town. It’s a pretty rosy Hollywood resolution to an obviously complicated and dire subject—racism is treated as an “intruder,” not a part of civic and political fabric. The movie fails to really indict the white citizens of Caxton for their own horrific crimes, nor does it really seek restitution for its black victims.

But you’re not watching The Intruder for critical race theory… you’re watching it for an evil Bill Shatner in a convertible with the KKK.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
William Shatner speaks Esperanto in oddball cult horror film ‘Incubus’
06.02.2014
09:22 am

Topics:
Movies
Occult

Tags:
William Shatner
Leslie Stevens


 
Just before he signed-up to play Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek, William Shatner made a bizarre, little seen, art-house horror movie called Incubus.

It was little seen because the film’s original negative and nearly all of its prints were thought lost or destroyed not long after its initial screenings at film festivals.

Bizarre, well for two reasons, firstly because the whole movie, though shot in California, was performed in Esperanto, an artificial hotchpotch of a language created in the late 19th century by L. L. Zamenof to encourage peace and understanding between the peoples of different nations.
 

 
Incubus was written and directed by Leslie Stevens, creator of The Outer Limits. It came about after The Outer Limits had been canceled. Stevens was looking for a way to kickstart his career and curiously decided that an artsy low budget horror film in a language very few people understood could be the answer. William Shatner who starred as Marc in the film later recalled that Stevens’ script…

“...had a starkness and a simplicity to it - of good and evil, it was kind of Greek in its simplicity and the way that events marched, in the script, to their inevitable conclusion. So I read it and called him back quickly and said, ‘that’s wonderful, I’d love to do it.’”

At this point in his career, Shatner had appeared in numerous episodic television roles (including The Outer Limits episode “Cold Hands, Warm Heart”) and in supporting roles in a few notable features, such as Judgment at Nuremberg and The Outrage. His only leads in a feature at this point were for The Explosive Generation and more provocatively in Roger Corman’s The Intruder, which received very scant distribution.

Shatner said “when [Incubus] was presented to me I was in the throes of some good work and in demand, and this was a small picture, it was something that you might not think of as, in that famous phrase, a ‘career move,’ but it was so intriguing, and I so enjoyed working with Leslie Stevens, that I wanted to be in it.”

Stevens wanted to “put the film in a different place,” so he decided to have the actors speak in Esperanto throughout the movie. Stevens figured Esperanto was strange, exotic and archaic enough to create a mysterious sense of otherness. This was the second feature made in Esperanto, though the language had been used to atmospheric effect as set dressing in Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, as Hitler had denounced Esperanto as a Jewish plot to take over the world.

When Incubus was premiered at the San Francisco Film Festival in October 1966 and a group of 50-100 Esperantists “screamed and laughed and carried on like maniacs” every time the actors mispronounced the language—Shatner’s Esperanto is considered especially bad as he used a nasal French-sounding manner to enunciate the language. (He was raised in Montreal.)
 

 
The movie was further “bizarre” not just for its art house style (kinda Cocteau meets Bergman) but because of the strange incidents associated with a curse supposedly put on the film.

Via IMDB:

In his commentary for the DVD, William Shatner recalled an incident that occurred when the cast and crew first arrived in Big Sur, California. He remembers a “hippie” man approaching the company, and inquiring into their endeavor. Shatner says that the cast and crew reacted with some hostility to his interest, which angered him in turn. The “hippie” then loudly put a curse on their production, which some people believe came in effect.

 
insub33.jpg
 
The curse was blamed for a series of incidents that occurred within a year of the film’s production. After its initial, limited release the film was considered lost after being destroyed in a fire (or accidentally destroyed by a French film lab, it’s unclear); one of the main actors Milos Milos, who played the Incubus, killed his lover Carolyn Mitchell (estranged wife of Mickey Rooney) and then committed suicide; while actress Ann Atmar who played Shatner’s sister Arndis in the film also killed herself. Even the composer, Dominic Frontiere was convicted and spent some time in prison for scalping literally thousands of Super Bowl tickets in the 1980s

Tragic events and criminal activity aside, a print of Incubus was discovered at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris. A new print was created frame-by-frame, with English subtitles superimposed over the French ones.

So what’s it all about? Well, Incubus tells the story of an ancient Deer Well and the succubus who prey on sinful people who use it. If a corrupt person drinks from the well the water will taste salty, only a person pure of heart can benefit the healing properties of the well. Tired of killing the bunch of sinners who drink from the well, succubus Kia (Allyson Ames) schemes to lure a man pure of heart to the well as a sacrifice to the God of Darkness. Cue William Shatner as Marc, a wounded soldier, who Kia falls in love with, causing her sisterly demon Amael (Eloise Hardt) to raise an Incubus (Milos Milos) to bring revenge on Marc and his sister Arndis (Ann Atmar).
 

 
With thanks to Paul D. Brazill

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The (very short) true story of William Shatner’s ‘The Transformed Man’ album
10.16.2013
07:46 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
William Shatner
Kevin Pollak
Ben Folds

William Shatner, The Transformed Man
 
It’s likely you have listened to William Shatner’s unforgettable rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and thought to yourself, “WHOA—what in tarnation was on Shatner’s mind there???”

We now have something of an answer—the answer is, Not very damn much!

Kevin Pollak recently interviewed Ben Folds on his long-form talk show. Folds has had (among other accomplishments) a fruitful musical collaboration with Shatner, most notably he was the man behind Shatner’s successful 2004 album Has-Been, featuring such actual, talented musicians as Joe Jackson, Aimee Mann, and Adrian Belew.

Folds related a conversation he had with Shatner about his legendary first album The Transformed Man, released in 1968 (edited to eliminate crosstalk and the like).
 

Folds: Well, you know, when I was a kid and I was trying to, you know, I wanted to be a songwriter and Neil Sedaka had done it by the time he was 13 and I didn’t, you know, but I was still goin’ for it. One of the things I did in high school was, I really liked, at an art sale I bought … the William Shatner record The Transformed Man. And that’s the one that has “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Tambourine Man.”

Pollak: Yeah, “Tambourine Man”…. he just keeps screaming it.

Folds: It’s really good!

Pollak: So you see what I’m saying—there’s no perfection there….

Folds: He didn’t know what he had done, like I asked him about that record and he said, “Well, you know, it was a day and we were shooting Star Trek….” and it was one thing on his list and he did it in real time, it was like a 45-minute thing. He didn’t even know what he had done, it was just like, he just left. And then it became this huge cult classic.


 
So there you have it. Perhaps 45 minutes is a wee bit of an exaggeration, but the point couldn’t be clearer. Shatner went to the studio and just cranked out the vocals for those mothers and then went off and did something else that day. That was it—no big musical idea, no “concept,” just following through on an idea to cash in on a little bit of that Summer of Love zeitgeist and employ his unique actorly skills in a way nobody would ever have thought possible.

There can be no doubt that the track successfully captured that preposterous/genius thing that has always been a trademark of Shatner’s acting.
 
Here’s the Pollak interview; the Shatner section starts around the 28:50 mark:

“Mr. Tambourine Man”

 
“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Let the hair grow’: Super-weird season’s greetings from William Shatner
12.24.2012
06:32 am

Topics:
Television

Tags:
William Shatner

Kirk
 
I have no idea what he’s talking about, but he was the original Captain Kirk, so I’m going to go ahead and assume there’s some level of hidden wisdom that I lack the insight to perceive.

“Worship it, and cultivate it, and admire it.” Testify, Bill.
 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Canada: Here’s William Shatner singing the Canadian National Anthem

william_shatner_sings

 
It’s Canada Day, when all good Canadians celebrate the birth of their country.

Today marks the anniversary of the unification of three colonies under the name Canada, which came together through the enactment of the British North America Act, on July 1, 1867.

Canada now consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories, and is sometimes overlooked when compared to its noisy neighbor. However, Canada has a fine political system, a publicly funded health care system, was the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage, and has a wealth of incredible cultural talent, from David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan, to Margaret Atwood and Robertson Davies.

Of course, Canada also has the iconic and irrepressible William Shatner. And here is Mr Shatner giving his version of the national anthem “O, Canada”.
 

 
Via Open Culture
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
He Is Legend: It’s Richard Matheson’s Birthday

richard_matheson_twilight_zone_william_shatner
 
Richard Matheson, the author and screenwriter, celebrates his eighty-sixth birthday today. Few writers have been as original or, as influential as Mr. Matheson, whose novels, stories, and screenplays have infused our cultural DNA. Watch / read any sci-fi / horror / fantasy entertainment and you will find Matheson’s genetic code somewhere in the mix.

Over a career that has spanned 6 decades, Matheson has produced a phenomenal range of novels and short stories, many of which have supplied the basis for such films as I Am Legend (the version with Vincent Price is better than Will Smith’s, though Charlton Heston’s The Omega Man is best), The Incredible Shrinking Man, A Stir of Echoes, The Legend of Hell House, Duel (Dennis Weaver has never been better), Button, Button (read the story, forget the film version The Box) and of course Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.

I’m a big fan of Matheson’s writing and firmly believe that if ever the Nobel Prize committee should think about reflecting talent rather than paying political lip service to short term causes, then they should seriously consider giving Richard Matheson the award for literature, as few writers, other than say Ray Bradbury or Stephen King,  have inspired so many young people to write, and more importantly, so many to read.

Happy Birthday Mr Matheson! And to celebrate, here is the classic Twilight Zone episode of Mr Matheson’s superb short story Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. Enjoy!
 

 
With thanks to Tim Lucas
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
For the love of the ‘Common People’: Fans cover Pulp

image
 
Following on from Bob Dylan’s suggestion we should write his autobiography, Pulp are currently running a competition to find the best cover version of one of their tracks:

During the process of learning to play the old songs again we have been consulting the cover versions posted on-line… Vote for your favorites by ‘liking’ them - or upload your own rendition if you think you can do better.

There’s even “a musical prize” for the winner.

As “Common People” is Pulp’s best known song and the one that appears to encourage most cover versions (will anyone surpass William Shatner’s version?) here are 8 covers of “Common People” - just a small selection of the many videos so far uploaded onto the site. If you want to see more, vote for your favorite, or think you can do better check here.
 

William Shatner’s cover of ‘Common People’ as a Lego animation by niblickthe3rd 
 
More Pulped versions after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Microworld: William Shatner’s psychedelic short film about microprocessors and transistors (1976)

 
It’s like watching an episode of The Twilight Zone.


(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Captain Kirk with Lucille Ball in “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (Trippy)
09.02.2009
09:51 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
William Shatner

 

(via nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment